Strange synopsis note in Thematic Outline on Atonement->Propitiation

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Kiyah | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Dec 13 2018 10:45 PM

I was looking at the Thematic Outline on Atonement under the Propitiation section and I came across something strange. The synopsis under this section includes the comment: "The NIV is distinctive on this point, in that it generally translates this term by "atonement" and related words."

First of all, this statement isn't true. The NIV's use of "atonement" for terms like hilasterion/hilaskomai/hilasmos is not at all distinctive. See the screenshots below for translation of those term in Rom 3:25, Heb 2:17, and 1 Jn 2:2 respectively. Multiple translations use phrases like "sacrifice of atonement" or "atoning sacrifice," while other translations use "expiation." The word "propitiation" may be traditional but it's actually becoming the minority report among modern translations. The NIV is not at all "distinctive" in this choice, the NRSV also prefers that translation along with the CSB, NLT, and EOB; the NABRE and RSV prefer "expiation."

And that's just the bibles that show up in the Information tool. The text comparison tool shows that bible translations are all over the place regarding how they translate these words. The REB, NET, ISV, and MEV have "sacrifice to atone" or "atoning sacrifice" in 1 Jn 2:2. The NJB has "sacrifice to expiate." Other translations use some form of modern idiom to convey the meaning without using technical theological terms (see CEB, GNB, GW, NCV, NEB).

Secondly, was it even appropriate to single out a translation within a study tool like the Thematic Outlines to begin with? It seems like an odd place for that type of discussion and could serve not only to misinform but to bias people against or toward a particular term (or bible) depending on their perspective before they've even competed their own study.

This comment should probably be removed from the Thematic Outline.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 13 2018 11:35 PM

Faithlife cannot change this. They are simply presenting the contents of Manser, Martin H. Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser, 2009.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 12:31 AM

You know what you're right. I knew this but had forgotten that data comes from this resource.

That's unfortunate though. This wasn't even true in 2009.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 12:43 AM

Kiyah:
That's unfortunate though. This wasn't even true in 2009.

One  can find lots of errors in Logos materials if you know what authors and publishers to pick on ... some as simple as several incorrect biblical references per page ...

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 7:36 AM

MJ. Smith:

Kiyah:
That's unfortunate though. This wasn't even true in 2009.

One  can find lots of errors in Logos materials if you know what authors and publishers to pick on ... some as simple as several incorrect biblical references per page ...

But that's not just a typo or incorrect biblical reference. It's a patently false statement that shouldn't have even been mentioned even if it were correct. Plus it was easy enough to check to see if it was correct and clearly neither the author nor his editor did that. So that's just poor research.

By the way, are you a night owl quasi-insomniac like me or are you just in an earlier time zone? Stick out tongue I'm on EST and didn't expect a quick response to this post at 1:45am or 3:30am, not from someone in North America anyway. lol

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J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 8:52 AM

The great thing about Logos is that it allows you to easily check things like this, which would have been a lot more difficult or impossible for some people 20 years ago. 

Once or twice I've followed a string a footnotes through Logos and found that I didn't think it supported the author's point. Wouldn't have been possible for me to do without the software.

Potato resting atop 2020 Mac Pro stand.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 9:12 AM

Kiyah:
I was looking at the Thematic Outline on Atonement under the Propitiation section and I came across something strange. The synopsis under this section includes the comment: "The NIV is distinctive on this point, in that it generally translates this term by "atonement" and related words."

Some historical context.

The Dictionary of Bible Themes was originally part of the NIV Thematic Study Bible which was published in 1996. It occupied nearly 600 pages at the back of the study bible, and in the main body of the Bible every verse listed the themes it covered as a marginal note. In pre-electronic days, it was a marvel.

In an NIV study Bible, it is entirely appropriate to explain why the word 'propitiation' doesn't occur in the NIV, and not unreasonably (especially in 1996) to say it's distinctive. (That's not the same thing as 'unique', of course.)

Interestingly, in my printed copy of the NIV Thematic Study Bible, the note is in parentheses, not square brackets as it is in the Dictionary. That suggests to me it's possible that an editor intended for the sentence to be removed from the Dictionary of Bible Themes, but that didn't happen.

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 9:27 AM

J. Remington Bowling:

The great thing about Logos is that it allows you to easily check things like this, which would have been a lot more difficult or impossible for some people 20 years ago. 

I'm increasingly finding that certain reference material that used to be incredibly useful just isn't all that valuable to me now that we have more automated tools available.  This is a good example.  It's ridiculously easy to compare the NIV's handling of this term with other translations.

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Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 12:14 PM

J. Remington Bowling:

The great thing about Logos is that it allows you to easily check things like this, which would have been a lot more difficult or impossible for some people 20 years ago. 

Once or twice I've followed a string a footnotes through Logos and found that I didn't think it supported the author's point. Wouldn't have been possible for me to do without the software.

These are true words. Happens to me all the time while using Logos.

Posts 723
Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 12:27 PM

Mark Barnes:

Kiyah:
I was looking at the Thematic Outline on Atonement under the Propitiation section and I came across something strange. The synopsis under this section includes the comment: "The NIV is distinctive on this point, in that it generally translates this term by "atonement" and related words."

Some historical context.

The Dictionary of Bible Themes was originally part of the NIV Thematic Study Bible which was published in 1996. It occupied nearly 600 pages at the back of the study bible, and in the main body of the Bible every verse listed the themes it covered as a marginal note. In pre-electronic days, it was a marvel.

In an NIV study Bible, it is entirely appropriate to explain why the word 'propitiation' doesn't occur in the NIV, and not unreasonably (especially in 1996) to say it's distinctive. (That's not the same thing as 'unique', of course.)

Interestingly, in my printed copy of the NIV Thematic Study Bible, the note is in parentheses, not square brackets as it is in the Dictionary. That suggests to me it's possible that an editor intended for the sentence to be removed from the Dictionary of Bible Themes, but that didn't happen.

Thanks for the info Mark! Helpful. If by distinctive they meant they chose to deviate from traditional terms or from Evangelical translations available at that time that would make sense.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 14 2018 1:39 PM

Kiyah:
By the way, are you a night owl quasi-insomniac like me or are you just in an earlier time zone?

I am a night-owl by biology and consider it to be an advantage in retirement. I'm in the same timezone as Logos PST :-)

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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